At the end of
1943, to counter rumors about extermination camps, Nazi
officials decided to invite a delegation from the
International Committee of the Red Cross to visit
Theresienstadt. In preparation for their arrival, thousands
of residents were deported to the death camp at Auschwitz,
to reduce congestion in the ghetto. A Potemkin village was
built, consisting of dummy stores, a cafe, a bank,
kindergartens, an elementary school, and a flower garden.
The visit took place on July 23, 1944. All meetings with
inmates were supervised by the Nazis, who filmed a
propaganda motion picture of the event, claiming to prove
that Jews were leading comfortable lives under benevolent
Postal and philatelic souvenirs, including imperforate
sheetlets of parcel admission stamps, were presented to the
Red Cross visitors. Although ghetto administrations were
forbidden to place their markings on Adolf Hitler's image,
the Nazis made an exception to the rule for this occasion.
The black cancellation, "Jewish Postal Authority
Theresienstadt," was created for this event, but was never
used on real mail. The red ink cachet at the left reads,
"Reply only by postcard or letter written in German,
addressed to the Council of Jewish Elders at Prague."